The Chinkapin Oak tree, Quercus muehlenbergii, is the limestone equivalent of the chestnut oak, occuring as a dominant species on rocky alkaline uplands. This Oak tree is also sometimes commonly called yellow chestnut oak. Chinkapin oak is a medium sized deciduous oak of the white oak group that typically grows 40-60’ tall with an open globular crown. Fruits are small oval acorns with scaly cups that extend to approximately 1/2 the acorn length. Acorns are valued food for a variety of wildlife.
Chinkapin Oak trees have narrow, shiny green leaves that have coarse marginal teeth. Leaves somewhat resemble the leaves of chestnut (Castanea) whose nut is sometimes called a chinquapin, hence the common name of this oak. Its acorn is sweet and edible. The thin leaves provide light shade. Fall color is variable, but it usually displays shades of yellow and brown. Chinkapin is not used extensively as an ornamental tree, although it is quite tolerant of tougher sites.